Why a girl in Belfast calls herself ‘Lola’

When I was born, the astrologer advised my parents to name me with a letter with the sound ‘Lo’, combining L and O. He even had a suggestion – ‘Lokeshwari’. My parents found it too dull and timid, though the name in Hindi means ”one who rules the world”. Perhaps, this name would have done wonders for my life because it at least reflects my ambition, if not the journey. Anyway, they privately called me ‘Lola’, though the name has a tragic meaning – sorrow’ – but I guess they watched the movie ‘Run Lola Run’ and were charmed. Alongside, I had a formal name which I always hated for being too common – ‘Pallavi’ meaning ‘fresh leaf’ in Hindi – and another pet name given to me by my grandmother – ‘Rimjhim’ meaning ‘drizzle’ in Hindi.

My move to Belfast is a significant move in my life and career. While I have moved countries before for education and work, this is significant in so many ways. I am more than just one person and I am fuller with my gifts and more clear in my purpose in life. I wanted a new name to signify everything new that’s happening to me, but I didn’t want to deviate farther from who I have been past three decades of my life. So, Lola, which very few people know is one of my names, seemed to be the ideal choice.

Often, especially on social media, it affords me the anonymity I need, and sometimes, it helps me create an intrigue for no reason. Whatever it is, I am finally owning up to my little known name like never before. It’s comforting to be Lola in a world where everyone is trying to fake happiness.